Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration appeared to approve a plan to install a new 76ers arena at 10th and Market streets, saying in a statement that it was an “ideal site for an arena world-class sports and entertainment”.
A spokesperson said in the statement that the city is not expected to provide a new grant for the project.
“We are excited about the energy this will bring to Philadelphia’s historic commercial district,” the statement said. “Based on our briefings to date, we are optimistic about the development team’s robust community engagement process and their commitment to equity and inclusion.”
The administration also reiterated that it is committed to finding a “long-term” home for the Sixers and will work with the development team on potential changes to zoning, permits, city planning, ” calculation of property taxes” and community involvement.
Developers of the $1.3 billion project include 76ers managing partners and apartment developer David J. Adelman. The team’s proposal is to tear down a block in Philadelphia’s Fashion District and build an 18,500-seat arena atop the SEPTA transit hub.
READ MORE: Sixers want to build new $1.3 billion arena in downtown
While Adelman told The Inquirer the project won’t seek city money, a 30-year deal that reduced property taxes for the site is currently set to last until 2035.
The city spokesman said developers will engage in a “robust” community engagement project. More than 20 years ago, Chinatown residents and business owners protested a proposal to put a Phillies stadium on 12th and Vine streets, and the plan was scuttled. Many neighborhood residents also opposed a 2009 plan to put a casino in Chinatown.
General City Council member Helen Gym – who was among protesters who have opposed such past plans – said she was “extremely skeptical” of the proposal and worried that the Chinatown community would not has not been consulted.
“I’m not interested in development that says it will just be tolerant, inclusive, Chinatown-adjacent,” she said. “It should actually benefit the community whose development trajectory has benefited the entire city of Philadelphia.”